[…] Earlier in the week, I had spoken to Alain de Botton, philosopher of quotidian life and author of several books, including The Architecture of Happiness, during his stop in Toronto to speak at the Art Gallery of Ontario. “Space and architecture are really a division of mental health,” he told me. We met at the Hazelton Hotel, where he was staying. “The choice of my publishers,” the best-selling author explained with a meek shrug when asked if he was always conscious of the space in which he placed himself. The lounge of the five-star encourages pleasant exchanges, fingers of light through the windows, illuminating the smooth texture of a wall, the pleasing curve of a chair, an explosion of exotic flowers in a vase, as if highlighting which beautiful features the eye should notice.

Beauty in architecture has great power, but only to a certain point, Mr. de Botton had explained. The glory of Venice would not assuage the emotional pain in an extreme moment of grief, just as the dreariness of an alleyway wouldn’t dampen the euphoria of a first kiss at 16. But for most of our lives, “we’re balanced between hope and despair … and it’s in that state when the built environment can have an influence on our mood.” It’s an environment we can control, he pointed out, unlike that other one called the weather.

Full article by Sarah Hampson on http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/relationships/news-and-views/sarah-hampson/how-space-and-architecture-influence-happiness/article2372128/

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